In May 2023 I am planning two online events, one for Mental Health Week, the other for Creativity and Wellbeing Week.
In February 2023 I ran Set Aside, a Daily Art For Wellbeing Challenge, with 44 participants. See the News page for a gallery of some of the artwork people shared.
Medley’s Animals A-Z Art For Wellbeing Challenge ran from August through to December 2022. From alpaca to zebra, via donkey, gorilla, giant panda and tiger…Each week we focused on a different letter of the alphabet to draw, paint and occasionally craft all kinds of creatures.
For the month of November 2022 I ran Showtime, a Facebook group sharing a suggestion each day of a song from musical shows to enjoy listening to and maybe singing along… Musicals can be so life-enhancing and this was an opportunity to listen again and enjoy. 14 care homes and family carers took part.
Medley’s previous art for wellbeing project was Colour Your Mind, which ran through May 2022 – an opportunity to turn to colour to boost mood and wellbeing, to experiment with creative ways of using colour through figurative and abstract art ideas alike. It was inspired by The Big Draw Festival’s 2022 theme Come Back To Colour. Thank you to all who took part.
Would you like to join an art and craft for mental health Facebook group? I hope this will be a supportive space to try some art and see how it might help. I know that creativity can really help issues like anxiety, depression and OCD, and sharing ideas and projects can be fun. I will suggest ideas you might like to try in the group, and show examples, but it would also be great if you’d like to share ideas of your own. Absolutely no pressure to share if you don’t want to though! No experience of art or craft needed – this is not about whether or not people are good at art, it’s all about experimenting, having a go and playing around with colour and line and seeing what happens. I hope the group will also be a space to share mental health issues and support each other. Please go to (1) Think Art | Facebook
I now lead a regular online art and craft group for Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust.
I also run occasional Zoom workshops for groups or organizations, such as one in May 2022 for an international women’s group.
31 care homes and 6 individual participants requested Medley’s art resource for Draw A Bird Day, an event marked annually on 8 April.
41 people took part in Medley’s Birds A-Z art for wellbeing challenge from home. Part of The Big Draw 2021, the Challenge ran from August to December. From avocet to zebra finch, via heron, kingfisher, sparrow and woodpecker…Each week we focused on a different letter of the alphabet, to draw, paint or occasionally craft birds beginning with that letter. It was wonderful in the Challenge’s private Facebook group to see different species come to life on paper or canvas or in fabric, in different styles and media. The Challenge featured birds from every continent and it was brilliant to learn new species participants discovered and shared, and to see all their wonderful artwork. Below you can see some examples:
Collage by Gemma Whitford; Robins by Andrea Dart; Ostrich by Gemma Whitford; Avocet by Janet Langley; Hoopoe by Sarah Clarke; Beaks by Sarah Clarke; Kingfisher by Andrea Dart; Abstract Kingfisher by Andrea Dart; Margaret Of Antioch Arriving At Cley by Kate Green; Dunlin On The Sea Shore by Kate Green.
In February 2022 Medley ran a Bullet Journaling For Mental Health workshop on Zoom, an opportunity to explore how bullet journaling can boost wellbeing and how art can be used within a bullet journal to express moods, thoughts and fears in creative ways.
Medley marked the National Day of Arts in Care Homes 2021 by producing a free activity ideas resource which was sent out on request to 120 care homes, from Plymouth to Aberdeen. The resource focused on the National Association of Activity Provider’s Moving And Grooving theme, with music suggestions, art and craft ideas and ways to connect with nature, all on a movement and dance theme.
In June 2021 I produced colouring sheets of footballers in action to mark the Euros tournament, and sent these out to the 94 care homes across the UK which requested them. Here are images shared by one of the care homes, Balclutha Court:
Medley’s previous art for wellbeing project, Plants On Paper, ran throughout the month of May 2021, with 36 people taking part. Flexible art and craft ideas on a plants theme were sent to participants each week, with step-by-step instructions and images as well as themed music & nature ideas and thoughts on wellbeing. Some people also joined the project’s dedicated private Facebook group and it was great to see how they responded to the project. Some images shared by Plants On Paper participants can be seen below:
Medley started running online projects in early 2021. The first art for wellbeing project, Free As A Bird, ran throughout the month of February. A range of art and craft activities on a birds theme were emailed out each week to the 210 people who registered to take part, along with music and nature ideas and thoughts on wellbeing. Some participants also joined the project’s dedicated Facebook group where they could share artwork.
The Free As A Bird project ran again for the month of March 2021, this time specifically for people having to shield from Covid-19 or who are struggling with ongoing coronavirus lockdown restrictions. 55 people joined the project.
Medley also ran a music for wellbeing project in March 2021, Another Day, Another Song. As the name suggests, this project recommended a different song to listen to each day of the month to boost wellbeing. 36 people took part.
Further projects will follow, hopefully covering all three areas: nature, music and art.
In April 2021 I led a Zoom drawing session for a Stroke Association group. I hope to lead more similar sessions.
Medley also plans to link local music, art or nature groups in different areas with support groups for people in particular circumstances. A project might see a local nature group share their experiences with a support group, or a community choir sing with a support group or a local art group paint a mural for a support group venue, for example. Medley’s community work will be flexible and built around cooperation, drawing people together to engage with nature, art and/or music.
If you are involved with a local or community music, nature or art group anywhere in the UK and would like to learn more about these plans, it would be great to hear from you. Or if you attend or run a support group which you think might like to get involved , then do get in touch as well.